$163 Million Star Tabbed Lakers ‘Top’ Offseason Trade Target

Donovan Mitchell, Los Angeles Lakers

Getty Donovan Mitchell against the Los Angeles Lakers.

With the Los Angeles Lakers looking to improve during the offseason, it could lead the front office to pair LeBron James and Anthony Davis with a third star. Ranking the potential trade candidates, Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report listed superstar Donovan Mitchell as the Lakers’ top trade target this offseason.

“If the Cavs are anything other than certain of Mitchell’s future with them, they almost have to field trade offers for him,” Buckley wrote on April 30. “Considering all they gave up to get him, watching him leave for nothing next summer would be an unmitigated disaster.

“If Cleveland winds up hearing overtures on Mitchell, L.A. be ready to make an aggressive pitch. His quantity-plus-quality scoring, shot-creation and secondary playmaking would all be valuable assets in L.A. The Lakers have been looking for someone to take the offensive burden off of James’ shoulders, and Mitchell seems the best equipped to do that among all of the realistic trade candidates.”

The New York Native is currently in the playoffs with the Cleveland Cavaliers, in a series against the Orlando Magic.

Uncertainty Around Donovan Mitchell Re-Signing

Mitchell is entering the final season of a five-year, $163 million contract in the 2025-26 season. If the Cleveland Cavaliers aren’t confident in him re-signing, the Los Angeles Lakers and other teams could be interested in the five-time All-Star.

Marc Stein of The Stein Line Substack reported on April 11 that the Cavaliers will be “forced” to trade Mitchell if he doesn’t agree to an extension.

“As discussed here on multiple occasions, Mitchell will be entering the final guaranteed year of his current contract next season if there’s no extension, leading to a growing belief among rival teams that the Cavaliers will be forced to trade Mitchell in coming months if they cannot come to terms with him an extension,” Stein wrote.

When asked about signing an extension, Mitchell told reporters he’ll handle it when it comes up.

The Utah Jazz traded Mitchell to the Cavaliers in 2022. It was a historic haul, moving Lauri Markkanen, Ochai Agbaji, Collin Sexton, three unprotected first-round picks, and two pick swaps. Mitchell still had three years remaining on his contract when that trade happened, so the price was likely higher than it should be now for the Lakers.

Heading into the offseason, the Lakers have three tradeable first-round picks.

How Donovan Mitchell Would Help the Lakers

What Mitchell has done on the court during his seven-year NBA career has been impressive, scoring the basketball at an elite level since he was a 21-year-old rookie.

In the 2023-24 season, he earned his fifth straight All-Star nod and averaged 26.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 6.1 assists. He’s an elite three-point shooter, too, shooting nearly 37% on nine attempts per game.

Mitchell could help bring the Los Angeles Lakers a true third-scoring threat. Not only would he help the team by scoring the basketball at the level he does, but he could take some of the heavy lifting off James and Davis.

Still only 27 years old, Mitchell hasn’t shown any signs of regression. His age would be a bonus to a Lakers team whose two best players are 31 and 39 years old.

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